Carton Network and VIZ Media have announced a new joint venture called Toonami Jetstream, a new broadband offering due to launch July 17, 2006, which will feature full-length episodes of some of Cartoon Network’s most popular action shows, including the Emmy-winning Samurai Jack and Naruto, as well as series like Hikaru No Go,MAR, and The Prince of Tennis which aren’t currently available on most U.S. broadcast or basic cable services. The companies say they also plan to run their homebrewed shows IGPX, NT Warrior, and Zoids Genesis.
Unfortunately, as much as I personally think having on-demand access to Samurai Jack would improve my quality of life, that’s almost all the information the companies have released: no details on whether the service will be free or fee-based, whether the shows will have embedded advertisements or be viewable only in ad-laden players, or what technology will be required to view the episodes (Flash? Windows Media? QuickTime?). The answer right now is “wait and see.” VIZ Media is a major distributor and publisher of Japanese anime and manga for North American audiences, and is co-owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation houses.
“Cartoon Network has long been the dominant TV provider of the best anime and action,” said Paul Condolora, Cartoon Network senior VP. “And we were the first to stream, in 2001, full-length anime series online. Now, with this joint venture with VIZ Media, we will give our fans the chance to view popular shows on-demand and follow new series that cannot be seen anywhere else. We also believe this will bring new fans to the action/anime genre, create interest in new shows and build the overall popularity of Toonami on Cartoon Network.”
Toonami Jetstream is set to launch July 17, 2006.